Oh Good – Low Sexual Satisfaction Could Be Linked To Dementia

A pretty unfortunate double whammy, right?
Vladimir Vladimirov via Getty Images

I mean, it’s not really something that needs much positive PR. But I’ll go ahead anyway: great sex is good for your mental health, your blood pressure, and even your skin.

And it turns out that not only is the presence of great sex good for you. but its absence could potentially be damaging to your brain health, too (can someone introduce our biological blueprints to dating app algorithms, please? Because I feel like that might mellow out this attitude it’s caught.)

According to the authors of Erectile Function, Sexual Satisfaction, and Cognitive Decline in Men From Midlife to Older Adulthood, there might well be a link between low sexual satisfaction, erectile dysfunction, and dementia.

The study only involved men

The study researched 818 men from the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging with mean ages of 56, 61, and 68 respectively. They tracked links between erectile function, sexual satisfaction, and cognition. “Microvascular changes, such as those that underlie changes in erectile function, may also play an important role in contributing to cognitive decline,” they sought to investigate.

“What was unique about our approach is that we measured memory function and sexual function at each point in the longitudinal study, so we could look at how they changed together over time,” co-author Martin Sliwinski told Penn State.

They tested both vascular changes, which would relate to sexual health issues such as erectile dysfunction, and psychological perceptions – i.e., how much a person enjoys, or is satisfied by, sex. They then tracked this against the cognitive health of each participant.

“We tested multilevel models hierarchically, adjusting for demographics, frequency of sexual activity, and physical and mental health confounders to examine how changes in erectile function and sexual satisfaction related to changes in cognitive performance,” the study said.

Low sexual satisfaction could be linked to dementia

Lower sexual satisfaction among middle-aged men seemed to correlate to cognitive decline later in life.

“Decreasing sexual health may signal an increased risk for cognitive decline. We discuss potential mechanisms, including microvascular changes and psychological distress,” the study found.

We already knew that vascular diseases were often a significant factor for those suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED). In fact, the active ingredient in Viagra was originally intended as a cardiovascular medication (yes, really).

But this study also found that sexual satisfaction and erectile dysfunction were both linked to dementia. “Instead of the conversation being about treating ED, we should see that as a leading indicator for other health problems and also focus on improving sexual satisfaction and overall well-being, not just treating the symptom,” Slwinski said.

They also suggest that sexual satisfaction might be linked to a person’s overall life satisfaction, which is linked to cognitive health.

“Scientists have found that if you have low satisfaction generally, you are at a higher risk for health problems like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease and other stress-related issues that can lead to cognitive decline,” Slwinksi said.

“Improvements in sexual satisfaction may actually spark improvement in memory function. We tell people they should get more exercise and eat better foods. We’re showing that sexual satisfaction also has importance for our health and general quality of life,” they added.

Look, there are worse ways to go on a health kick.